Stylish and fast-paced, Driven is a vibrant comedy drawing inspiration from real events surrounding the launch of the iconic DeLorean. I don’t know how much of the story is true and I really don’t care. Mostly because I had so much fun watching this movie. This is not a classic biopic about John DeLorean and his efforts to make the car of his dreams. This is a comedy that’s mounted onto the frame of a larger-than-life story. I mean, it’s got everything you would want starting with cocaine. And when you add to that big business, FBI, informants, criminals, beautiful women and all kinds of schemes you got yourself a winner.
Now, I know that every time you hear the word DeLorean you think of Back to the Future. Same as I did, until I accidentally stumbled upon Framing John DeLorean, an even stranger biopic from 2019 starring Alec Baldwin. This led me to various news articles, clips, and eventually, this movie. Driven is that type of movie you can play any night. You don’t have to be in any type of special mood or anything. Just hit that play button and find yourself in the bustling and sunny California suburb in the seventies. The cinematography here is just gorgeous, emphasizing the posh party lifestyle. Oh man, did they party in the seventies and eighties or what!
I also have to tell you that this isn’t a movie about cars or John DeLorean. In fact, there will be very little driving or car-related stuff here. Driven is a movie about Jim Hoffman, an FBI informant, and his adventures. So, don’t think this is another Ferrari vs Ford, because it isn’t. The script is really funny and snappy, keeping the pacing fast and engaging. Although you really don’t need any of those tricks with a story as juicy as this one. It touches upon many intriguing subjects and I simply do not know which one to single out. Perhaps the FBI one was the most interesting one, perfectly capturing how that agency functioned in the eighties. If you want to see something similar check out Operation Odessa albeit with DEA instead of FBI.
Meet Jim Hoffman, a skillful pilot with a checkered past. He has just been picked up by the FBI after smuggling a pretty hefty amount of cocaine into the country. He makes a deal with them to secretly tape his old boss, Morgan Hetrick. While trying to make that happen, he accidentally meets his new neighbor, the famous car designer John DeLorean…
Driven is basically a character study attempting to paint a picture of ambition with broad strokes. We don’t know how much of the story is true or if the characters are being misrepresented. And DeLorean family and other historians claim they were. However, you can clearly sense that drive to achieve The American Dream. Or to hustle your way to the top, in the case of Hoffman, masterfully played by Jason Sudeikis. I know this is a pretty much classic role for him but he was really good here. However, not as nearly good as charismatic and intense Lee Pace. You might remember him as Thranduil from The Hobbit trilogy. The man just has something about him that makes any of his performances strangely captivating. I mean, he blew me away in the flawed adaptation of Asimov’s Foundation.
I should also mention the female part of the cast that was not only beautiful but really believable. Judy Greer, Isabel Arraiza and finally Erin Moriarty all gave committed and pitch-perfect performances. Plus, we will have the opportunity to see Erin, also known as Starlight from The Boys, in a completely different role.
Director: Nick Hamm
Writers: Colin Bateman, Alejandro Carpio
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Lee Pace, Judy Greer, Isabel Arraiza, Michael Cudlitz, Erin Moriarty, Corey Stoll
Fun Facts: For the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival, actor Lee Pace managed to find an original DeLorean car in Italy. However, the car broke down and had to be pushed onto the red carpet.